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Talking it Over: Keep safety in mind during fall field work

Katie Erdman

In recent weeks, I have checked and rechecked the calendar to make sure that we are actually still in the early part of September. Seeing the harvest that is taking place, earlier than normal, has made it feel more like October. However, here we are in September and at this time of year we try to encourage everyone, not just those involved in farming, but also the people who share the roads, feed the hungry workers and postpone things as the busy season progresses.

We really shouldn't need one special week for farm safety. It should be something we observe all year long. You just can't do enough to insure the safety of everyone on the farm and in businesses but if we need a special week to remind us, then it is worth while.

There are many things that can be done to prevent fatal accidents or related illnesses. One of the most important of these is to be informed. Know your equipment and what possible injuries can result from misuse. Read the owner's manual for instruction on the proper use of the equipment.

Another health hazard on the farm can be the improper use of pesticides and chemicals. Wear protective equipment when advised and store containers where they cannot be reached by curious children. Also, wear clothing suitable for the work you are doing, nothing loose or tattered. Know what to do in case of an accident to prevent irreversible damage.

No matter how busy the season becomes, it is important to take time for yourself. Get enough rest and breaks so that you remain alert while operating equipment. Hire extra help to give workers time to relax and recharge. Tired or inattentive drivers can be dangerous on the road and in the field.

Children are often at risk for being injured or killed in farm accidents. Always check around equipment before moving and watch out for the sudden movements children can make. When things are very busy on a farm yard, perhaps it would be a good time to keep small children inside or within a fenced yard.

In my opinion, you can never be too careful. Just take the time to do that one extra step to insure your safety and that of your family when the busy fall work begins. But don't confine it to just fall, make good safety practices part of your everyday life.